Disney’s Wellness Program Re-Imagined with Games and Financial Rewards

Disney is a world unto its own. It likes to do things its way. Like being self-insured and calling its workers “cast members,” not employees. From the electrician to the churros cart vendor to the parade performers, everyone is on display–in the “show.” They demand the coordination and perfection of a live performance. Like spokes on a wheel, they work as a fitted unit to make it run.

The happiest place on earth

The Walt Disney Company has built an empire on treating people to the “happiest place on earth,” and they work consistently to make that dream a reality.

Disney’s conglomeration includes theme parks (the oldest two, California Disneyland and Florida Disney World), resorts, cruise lines, studios, television and media networks, stores, and other global operations. They employ a diverse 140,000 workers from the park guest cast members to the studio executives, with the largest concentrations in Florida, California, New York and Connecticut.

Their website proclaims The Walt Disney Company is “the global leader in high-quality family entertainment.”

Helping visitors get healthy

Their brand, a household name, carries the recognition and creative imaginations of the nation’s children. As such, they are uniquely positioned to influence and shape those minds with their brand. That’s why, their move in 2006 to offer more nutritionally-balanced character-branded foods and healthier options at their parks spoke legions to a health commitment to their guests, especially kids.

Instead of sides like fries and soda with their kids’ meals, they served fruit or vegetables and low-fat milk or water at their 145 Orlando park restaurants, a reduction of 21.4% in fat and 43.4% in sodium. And you’ll never see smokers in Disney movies. In fact, all Disney Channel characters live healthy lifestyles.

And just like any thriving world business leader, Walt Disney World and satellite enterprises realize the tremendous cost savings of a comprehensive wellness program for their cast members. After all, they’re in the business of happiness–and healthy employees are happier employees.

Helping employees get healthy

Disney has a name for its wellness program–Healthy Pursuits–and a theme: “start simple, dream big, and be well.” The components of their program are tailored to their employee population through education, safety, personal health and well-being, nutrition, and condition management.

So, in addition to promoting educational topics like sun protection and flu prevention, they encourage members to keep fit and safe on and off the job–with their families. Leaders are trained on safety and delegate to “wellness champions” who carry the wellness message to their locations and sections.

They also offer their members 5k runs, health fairs, nutrition coaching, mobile health coaches, lifestyle coaches, on and off-site dietitians, condition management nurses, athletic trainers, sports programs, yoga, Zumba, volleyball leagues, canoe races, free flu shots, on-site fitness centers and healthy cooking lessons at their restaurants.

Disney’s twice monthly Worldwide Safety Council is a kind of think tank for continually updating safety practices as well as co-collaboration among cast members for best practices and needs.

Their wellness program is “outcomes-based” and monetarily incentivized initially for personal health assessment and biometrics, then later for achieving healthy BMI and blood pressure goals and for attending weight counseling.

In 2008, Disney opened its Orlando Center for Living Well, a primary care medical facility for members and their families. And offers all Disney cast members health care plans options, free preventative care benefits, discounts on gym memberships, online health assessments, prescription drug price comparison tools, and diabetes and heart disease management programs.

Can it be the healthiest place on earth?

Disney seems to have it all. They even offer the MagicBand, a wristband that connects guests to everything Disney. It’s used to enter parks, unlock hotel rooms and buy food and merchandise.

What if Disney furthered their “Healthy Pursuits” across the wrists of employees to capture even more participants and extend the reach of their wellness program? But not with MagicBands.

With an app which pays financial rewards for every day physical activities, gives instant access to health and medical resources and coordinate members with their healthcare providers–and each other.

How amazing would it be for Disneyland to challenge Disney World to a fitness contest with money pool evenly split among all who completed the goal?

Disney has the right spirit and offers a lot of wellness. But can the results be improved? Can they keep it fresh and organized, capturing all the necessary data across a hugely diverse population to keep their program relevant, effective and engaging? Can they benefit from 150 more wellness customizable activity offerings that improve the global health of their “world” and “land” populations?

Paying members instant financial rewards for everyday health and fitness activities would give members instant gratification and help Disney substantially reduce their administrative costs, make members happier, increase member retention and speed up the pace at which members receive health and wellness feedback, test results, reminders, rewards, points, achievements, and cast member connection–in clear, comprehensive language of its diverse population.

Can the happiest place on earth be happier? With the best, customizable, state-of-the-art, comprehensive wellness program available on the market it could.

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